The journey of your startup or SME is clear from start to finish, now, you need to land that initial investor or early customer base. You have a product concept and you’ve got interest, but your access to funding is limited. Your window of opportunity is small and time is of the essence. You need a product that you can monetise with minimal capital required upfront to validate your proof of concept.
How we help
We use best in class design sprint methodology to assess your product concept and break it down into the must haves and wants. The ‘Moscow Method’ breaks down each individual feature of your product concept into Musts, Shoulds, Coulds, and Woulds — the order of priority for development and rollout. By understanding each feature as a value that comes at the cost of money and effort, we can identify which features make up your core product.
With this information, we employ Google Ventures Design Sprint Methodology to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). We also like to refer to this as a Minimum Loveable Product, or also a Minimum Valuable Product. It's all the same to us! An MVP is the heart of your concept, with all the bells and whistles removed. We employ high value, high velocity decision making to create week long design cycles, focusing on testable features that can be improved upon with every iteration. We bootstrap together your MVP as cost effectively and quickly as possible, so that you can secure your investors or initial user base.
With the information gathered, we create a process map of what features to develop and roll out at what point in your product’s lifecycle. As your MVP starts producing income or securing capital, your game plan to scale, iterate and improve your product is already laid out. Costs are anticipated and your team is in place to continuously develop.
Building ThinkVR at high velocity
ThinkLab is a high end 3D visualization company that specializes in bringing architectural visions to life in order to secure investment funding. As one of the most premium 3D visualisation specialist studios in the southern hemisphere servicing high-end, blue-chip clients, they have no margin for mediocrity. But they were ready to break into new territories.
When it comes to securing investment for high-end developments, a high-end pitch is vital. Simply providing investors with 3D renderings isn’t enough — you need to show your development has foundations to stand on with a real-time, immersive virtual experience.
ThinkLab soon realized that no product existed that could meet their demands. They needed virtual reality renderings that were as crisp and clear as the real thing — investors had to live in their future in development in order to buy into it.
They had to find the right digital innovations consultants to bring their vision to life, but they found themselves in a catch22. In order to bring their vision of a high-end, top of the line virtual experience to life, they needed funding, but in order to get funding, they needed a high end virtual reality experience.
And so they came to us for a solution. With a huge vision and a tight budget, we got to work on analyzing their goals and boiling them down to an MVP. By applying the MoSCoW Method, we mapped out their list of dream features for their platform and translated them to Provided Value, and Cost Effectiveness. That way we could determine what needed to be achieved with the budget at hand, and what could be saved for later updates and roll outs once investment had been secured.
“As your MVP starts producing income or securing capital, your game plan to scale, iterate and improve your product is already laid out. Costs are anticipated and your team is in place to continuously develop."
Out of broad list of features, we identified the following maxims:
- High-fidelity visuals: the quality of the virtual experience had to be the best in the industry, meaning the platform needed to process massive amounts of data.
- Interactive navigation: in order to sell the virtual reality experience, immersive navigation would be necessary
- GPS synchronization: 3D renderings had to be able to map themselves according to real-time location data in order to bring virtual developments to life in the real world places they’ll be built.
- Versatility: to maximize the MVPs potential returns, the platform had to be able to produce virtual experiences from ThinkLabs existing catalogue.
With our list of inhouse solutions to produce pumping through the pipeline, we began our acquisition of pre-existing services. This is where high velocity, high value decision making comes into play. Bootstrapped features need to be tested and iterated in the shortest sprints possible to ensure that time isn’t wasted on trying to incorporate the wrong service into the new platform.
But our list of premium, high value but high effort features wasn’t forgotten. Whilst our devs and designers were producing out iterations, our business analysts were hard on the task of mapping out a roll out plan for future updates that would eventually turn this bootstrapped platform into a comprehensive suite of services capable of serving a wider, more diverse user base. This way, as soon as the demand for new, more adaptive features appeared, high velocity development and rollout could take place.
User testing is employed over the course of the design sprints, forming the framework for feedback and further iterations. This process of produce, test and redesign continues until a functional, monetizable MVP is produced.
During the process, we identified Unity as the perfect engine to run the 3D renderings. Web platforms lacked the robustness we were looking for and Unreal Engine would be too processor heavy for an excessive experience and the turnaround time would be too great for what we were aiming to achieve. Unity hit the Goldilocks standard.
We bootstrapped the Content Management System (CMS), this time saving process allowing us to hand over content duties to ThinkLab’s support team as soon as possible. With a small customer base at start, onboarding and login could be bootstrapped as well, and then later adapted when the customer base grew.
“Whilst our devs and designers were producing out iterations, our business analysts were hard on the task of mapping out a roll out plan for future updates that would eventually turn this bootstrapped platform into a comprehensive suite of services capable of serving a wider, more diverse user base."
After a high-speed process of validating and testing, ThinkLab’s ThinkVR MVP was ready to launch — but that didn’t mean our work was done. There was still a long list of features that had to be plotted out as future updates and rollouts. We developed a roadmap for ThinkLab that laid out how to respond to growth and how each existing feature would scale to adapt to a large user base.
We were hands on with ThinkVR’s launch. We used our bench of design experts to produce a website and brochureware to showcase the product, orchestrated its app store listing and setup everything necessary for product demos.
Today, we’re still developing new features and rolling out new updates for ThinkVR, allowing the product to continuously develop alongside the exponentially emergent virtual reality industry. We are still developing that first map we laid out at the analysis phase of the project, and we’re continuously adding new roads and destinations as we bring this product to its full potential.